When God’s answer is NO

Yes.

No.

Or the dreaded…WAIT.

Those are the answers that God typically gives us when we pray for something.

Sometimes we have to pray a long time to get an answer.

In 2013, I spent many nights crying and praying.  My husband I were going through fertility treatments with our remaining frozen embryos (our sweet totsicles 🙂  Would I have another sweet baby to snuggle and rock in the wee hours of the night?  Would I give my kids the baby that they asked me for every single day?  Oh please God say YES!!

After a year of failed fertility treatments, I got an answer.  When I had to have surgery to remove my fallopian tubes, the answer was not only a NO, but a “Not Now.  Not EVER!”  It was devastating.  I couldn’t understand why He not only said NO, but slammed the door shut on the possibility to have another baby.  All of my hope was gone.  And honestly, my feelings were hurt.  Why did it have to be so final??  It took me a while to get back on good speaking terms with God.

Fast forward to four years later…

As I was having my quiet time this morning, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  Saying NO in such a permanent way was the most loving thing that God could do for you.  He wasn’t slamming the door in my face as I felt years ago.  He was wrapping me in His arms and forcing me to face my reality and heal.  God knew me.  He knew that I love babies and would still want to have another one.  He knew if I thought there was even a slight chance that I could get pregnant, I would continue to try.

Infertility robbed my husband and I of so many years in our marriage.  Over the last four years, we have been able to heal and strengthen our marriage.  No consulting a calendar to determine when to be romantic.  No month to month roller coaster of hormones and emotions.  By God taking the possibility of becoming pregnant away from me, He allowed me to focus on the many blessings in my life.

I broke my seven month hiatus of writing because I wonder if anyone else is struggling with an answer that God has given you?  Maybe your feelings are hurt.  Maybe you don’t understand why He had to answer that way.  Maybe you aren’t quite on speaking terms with God right now.

It is hard for us as humans to see beyond this snapshot in time.  God sees the whole eternal picture.  I am so grateful that God gave me the insight into why he said NO and reminded me how deep His love is.

If you or a loved one is battling infertility, you can read more about my story in my book, “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility…Twice.”

If you would like a prayer partner, send me a message.  I would love to be your prayer warrior.  I only got through my tough times by the power of my friends and family’s prayers.

John 116

 

 

 

You Might Be on Weight Watchers™ if…

lolIt’s the first day of Fall, I’m 9 pounds closer to making my skinny jeans shut the heck up.  They have been sitting in my closet mocking me.  “Ain’t no way you are fitting in me – – let alone zipping!”

I know.  I know.  A few too many #1’s from Chik Fil A, a few too many leisurely cookouts with a few too many margaritas.  Add to the fact that, apparently, the closer you get to the big 4-0, your youthful metabolism takes a NOSEDIVE.

So I got serious.  I am okay with not being skinny as a rail; that isn’t how God made me.  But clearly I had gone off the rails a bit and needed to reign this crap in.  So I started my standby – – Weight Watchers™ because it works.  It helped me through the freshman 15, birthing twins, and then birthing my 3rd child less than two years later.

If you have ever been on a Weight Watchers™, you might have:

  • Curled up in a ball crying when you looked at what you thought was a healthy option and see it was a gazillion points.  Thank you every salad on the menu EVER!!😩
  • Scoured the Tostitos bag for 12 WHOLE chips.  If you are going to burn WHOLE points, you better believe you are not wasting any bites eating partials.   Then you…
  • Slapped your husband’s hand when he tried to take one of your chips.  Because just like Joey, Steph doesn’t share food.  😡
  • Savored a bag of Pirate’s Booty for supper, so you could still have the blessed 5 points for your wine.🍷
  • Ate an entire pint of strawberries as you washed them because, you know, they are free!🍓
  • Looked up the food you ate on my cheat day, and they are so bad that they aren’t even listed in the app.  😳  I mean come on – – Pimento Cheeseburger and Duck fat Fries…that can’t be so bad!!  😂
  • Realized how many times you finished the kids’ crust or took bites as you cooked since you are tracking everything that went into your mouth. 🙊
  • Got yogurt all over your face from licking the top and inside the container because, hey, you gotta maximize your points!😋
  • Found your motivation to clean your house when you saw that you earned FitPoints™ for doing it.  4 points, thank you very much!  (then I looked up chasing kids, brushing teeth, anything to get more 😜)
  • Logged a food, then deleted it when you took a bite and it wasn’t Point-worthy.🙅🏻
  • Dethroned your BFF of 20 years to a mom that asked if you had lost weight.  (Just kidding Jodi – you will always be my BFF.  And Brea, you totally made my Tuesday 😘)

I joke about all of this, but I love everything about the program.  Weight Watchers ™ helps you create healthy habits with your eating and your physical activity.   And the app is super easy to use.

It’s not about getting skinny (or even into skinny jeans).  It’s about getting healthy.

 

 

 

 

Beauty from Ashes Interview

I wanted to share my interview with fellow Christian author, Ginny Priz, about my battle with Infertility.  It is filled with a message of HOPE in a very desperate time.  Please share with someone who has a similar struggle or maybe just loves someone that is dealing with Infertility.

Stephanie Greer – Beauty From Ashes interview

For more information, you can read my book, “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility…Twice.”

Full Heart Empty Womb

Beauty from the Ashes

FB_Feed_Stephanie_Greer

Want some inspiration and HOPE over the next 10 days?

My friend and fellow Christian author, Ginny Priz, is hosting an interview series called “Beauty from Ashes” on her website.  She is interviewing 10 amazing women about how God helped them find HOPE in spite of their bad circumstances.  And guess what??  I am one of them!  I will be sharing about how God helped strengthen me through my battle with Infertility on Thursday, August 25th.

Please take a few and hop on over to Ginny’s website, sign up for the series, and be inspired!

 

How We Are Ditching the Girl DRAMA

Giggling. Dancing. Hugging. Singing Adele in 3 different keys. . .

And that is all in the first five minutes of my 9 year old daughter’s sleepover.

Then in the next 5 minutes. . .

Huffing. Puffing. Foot stomping. And of course….the dreaded eye roll.

GIRL DRAMA. As irrational as it is, it is totally natural. Or as my husband, Eric, insists when there are more than one females in a room together…it is inevitable.  😜

I LOVE that my daughter has found other strong girls with likewise strong personalities. I can’t wait to watch them grow up, take on this world and see what God has in store for them.

However, when they are young, sometimes they can trip over their big personalities and bruise some feelings on their way down. That is where us big girls who have been there and done that can help. We can’t totally ditch the Drama.  However, we can help our girls side step some of the theatrics and learn to face it head on when it can’t be avoided.

So this morning before our fruit, bacon and waffles, we had a Mama and girls pow wow. We brainstormed what we could do to take care of our friendships.

Here is what the girls pledged to Ditch the Girl Drama:

  • Be Kind.  Kindness comes from the heart; it is love in action.  I love my friends, so I Southern Lady-8will treat them with love and respect.  But…
  • If I Get My Feelings Hurt, I Will Talk it Out With my Friend…Not Other Girls.  The best way I can deal with a situation is to go straight to my friend and talk to her about it.  Talking to someone else about it is just gossiping and may hurt someone else’s feelings.  Who knows?  Maybe I just misunderstood! But if not…
  • Ask for Forgiveness & Forgive Easily because…
  • I Understand We All Make Mistakes.  No one is perfect!  We all talk or act before we think sometimes. And then I will…
  • Learn From My Mistakes.  I love and respect my friends, so I will do my best to make better choices next time.  And, of course, I will. . .
  • ALWAYS Have My Friend’s Back!  Even though we decided to ditch the drama, there are girls that thrive on drama.  We will support and take care of each other.  Always.

As I type this, they are again giggling, singing and dancing to JT.

Funny. I plan on doing that very same thing this weekend on my Girls Weekend with my girlfriends of over 20 years.

I pray these sweet girls will be doing the same with each other in 2036.

the girls

 

Patriotic Pinterest on POINT

Cute.  Easy. Low time commitment.  Those are my criteria for Pinterest.  If I see more than 5 ingredients –  X out of that immediately.  If it looks like it will take me more than 30 minutes – Get outta my Face with that thing!

So when Eric and I decided to have a 4th of July Eve party, obviously I got a little Pinterest happy with all things Red, White & Blue.

Here are  few things that I did that met all my criteria!  And the best thing is almost all could be done the day before 🙂

Jello Fireworks from  Kraft Recipes.   These were a HUGE hit with the kids!

Jello Fireworks - The Southern Lady Mama

Patriotic Strawberries from The Idea Room.  These were so easy and my daughter, Ella, helped!

Patriotic Strawberries - The Southern Lady Mama

My Patriotic Fruit Pizza from House of Hawthornes was the only exception from making the day before because I wanted the fruit to be fresh.  However, I went ahead and made the crust and topping then refrigerated them.  I also washed and cut up the strawberries.  It only took me about 15 minutes (with Ella’s expert help again!) to top and glaze the pizza before the party.  Score!

Patriotic Pizza - The Southern Lady Mama

Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Ella would say!  Finally I got to sit down just in time to enjoy our fireworks :Fireworks - The Southern Lady Mama

Have a similar minimalist Pinterest attitude? Follow me on Pinterest for some great easy recipe ideas!

Have a Happy Independence Day!!!

How to Survive VBS

“If you want to make the leap from awesome husband to ‘out of this world husband,’ you will go get me a Sonic Diet Coke every morning this week!!” I hinted to my husband.

#DesperateTimes

Loud music. (played on repeat in your head forever.) Louder kids. (outnumbered 5 to 1.) Running around. (Non-stop for 4 straight hours)

And I signed up for it. With a smile.

It’s VBS.  Say Ya Ya Ya Ya Yes for the Va Va B B S!!!!! (Now that is stuck in my mind!!)

I have taught VBS for the last several years. Every year I say it is my last year. And every year I sign up for more responsibility the following year 😉 VBS is like childbirth. You forget about all the aches and pains and just remember the pure JOY. Like watching my sweet 1st graders sing, “I Am Remarkably Made!” Their precious smiles shine with their belief of every word they sing to the tips of their sweet totsies.

Here are 10 ways I Survive VBS:

  1. Procrastinate Not –   Some people work best under pressure. I just curl in a corner and cry if I get overwhelmed. VBS can make you feel like you are swamped with so much material! Bible Lessons, crafts, memory verses, games, and the list goes on! I start 6 weeks before VBS and tackle a day each week. On the sixth week, I review the whole week. For each day, I will make lists of materials I need to buy and materials I need to bring from home for that day. I will also go ahead and complete any copies or cutting out that needs to be done. Spreading it out makes is less intimidating. I get a big grocery sack and put all the materials needed for each day and label with the day of the week.  Has the procrastination ship already sailed?  Skip to #9 😉
  2. Teamwork– Get together with your fellow teachers. 2, 3, 4 heads are better than 1! Talking through the lessons with your peers will help you decide what will work best for your group. You can also go in together and get some wonderful things from Oriental Trading to help your week. Decorations and small prizes are reasonable and worth every penny. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to!
  3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate – If you are fortunate to have extra helpers for your VBS, then use them! In my classroom, we split up the Bible lesson, craft and game. Whoever owns that task they OWN it! It is their responsibility to make sure all the supplies are in order and lead that activity. You don’t have to do it all on your own. I love to involve our Youth in VBS. Some are proactive and others may need a bit more direction. Even if it is getting them to just sit between Chatty Cathy and Handsy MaGee, it is all appreciated!! And the kids LOVE to have the cool teenagers in the classroom. Honestly, it is as much a ministry to the youth as it is to our little ones! They are all the future of our Church.
  4. Visuals Engrave the Lessons in Their Little Minds – Any time you can include a
    Ocean Trenches

    Ocean Trench “Submerged” VBS

    visual aid in telling your story, it will help leave a lasting impression in the kids’ hearts and minds. Costumes, acting out scenes, and science experiments all engage the children. Engaged kids are listening and learning.  I also love any visual that the children can take home as a conversation starter. Now VBS is reaching others that didn’t even attend! This week we gave our kids a sticker with a porpoise on it. When asked, the kids can explain that God has a specific purpose for each and every one of them 😉

  5. Decorating: Less is More –In this Pinterest world, it is easy to get caught up in “who has the coolest room” mentality. The focus of the week really needs to be God’s Word and sharing His love with the children. I am not crafty. My prize decoration was a jellyfish made out of a Dollar Tree shower cap and curling ribbon. (I will admit I got a ton of compliments on it that made this girl feel pretty Miss Crafty!) Don’t worry about the decorations. After the initial excitement of walking into the cool VBS room, the kids are over it. They are ready to learn and be entertained! You do that…not the room J
  6. Don’t Overschedule – VBS week can be energizing and exhausting all at the same time. When we get home after a morning at VBS, I just need a bit to sit and decompress. I am so glad that we made a decision to not plan much of anything during the week of VBS. We go to VBS, enjoy family time, rest up and maybe have some pool time since it is 100 degrees this week!!!
  7. Invite Friends – Every year I ask my kids to give me a list of kids to invite to VBS. Southern Lady-7Most years I get a lot of no’s, but we never gave up asking. This year I hit the jackpot. I got six awesome kids to come with us! I had the extreme privilege to hold one of our sweet friend’s hand as she prayed and asked Jesus to live in her heart.   Bless. It doesn’t get better than that.
  8. Trust the Holy Spirit – Often the parents have been planting seeds of God’s Word and Truth throughout the children’s lives. As teachers, we throw some VBS Miracle Grow on those seeds. Sometimes we have the privilege to introduce God’s love to kids to the first time. We do our part. We plan. We prepare. We practice our lessons. But it is the Holy Spirit that will prepare their little hearts for Jesus. We don’t have to carry that burden. We just do our part in God’s plan for the children’s salvation.  It’s not our job to “save” anyone.  Only Jesus can do that.
  9. Pray, Pray and Pray Some More – The whole week needs to be wrapped in prayer. From the workers to the children to the children’s parents. We need to be praying for the Holy Spirit to be present, for our words to be His, and for His love to be overflowing through us.
  10. Don’t Skip the Snack Table – Did I mention that the snacks are miraculously negative calories during VBS week?  A Twix bar and a Diet Coke two hours after breakfast every day are totally necessary.  Ministering to God’s children can boost your mood and your appetite.  😉

Now for a week long nap if I could just get that music outta my head…